Our View: Guns aren’t the whole problem

Our View: Guns aren’t the whole problem

Gun Rights

(File photo) The special session Gov. Ralph Northam called to deal with gun control* is worthwhile – but it is only half a solution. As we have said previously on these pages, most notably following the Sandy Hook massacre in December 2012, better gun control laws are necessary but not by themselves a solution. The second missing element is how to deal with severely mentally ill people who have shown violent tendencies. We need changed laws in this realm too, both to prevent tragedies and to keep those who commit them off the streets. Below is a brief examination of both gun and mental illness policy. While “common sense gun measures” is more slogan than policy, it is clear that better gun laws are needed. However, any discussion of how to regulate guns should start with a few facts. • The Small Arms Survey estimates that there are 393 million guns in private hands in the U.S., or 120 guns for every 100 residents. • The vast majority of these owners are neither criminals nor violently mentally ill. • Private ownership of guns is not going away in the United States. Gun laws should make it more difficult for someone to commit a crime of passion, to illegally traffic in guns and to buy a gun if mentally ill. Waiting periods, better background checks that are required for every gun purchase and reasonable limits on the frequency of obtaining guns would all help if enforced. Most importantly, no civilian […]

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